So recently, my fiance found himself without a job. Without any fault of his own, I might add. The current economy on South Africa makes stable employment quote the rarity.
Since then, I’ve had to say goodbye to the odd online shopping spree here and there, and focus my goods on paying bills and expenses. Much to my dismay, I have had a few accounts out and am now sitting in a little stress. However, all is not lost! We have a roof over our head that’s paid for, and it might not be gourmet meals, but we’ll always have food in our bellies. Upon my recent journey to becoming financially highly strung, I decided to scrounge the internet for a few wise words of advice. In my own words, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learnt on how to cope in this tough time.
What to do:
1 TALK POSITIVELY
There is power in words and in the language that you use. Don’t say negative or wishy-washy things like if only you have more money or that you need to stop buying things. Put force and specifics into your thoughts. Say, “I’ll only buy things that I really need to save for my retirement;” or “I will find another income.” Indeed if you’re seriously looking for another income source, you can earn extra income while you keep your day job.
2 CHANGE YOUR MONEY VIEW
It’s amazing how simply changing your financial perspective can result in drastic improvements. For example, instead of using the formula, INCOME + LESS EXPENSES = SAVINGS; change it to INCOME + SAVINGS = EXPENSES and watch your money grow. It takes discipline to stick to the second formula, but by changing your view, you’ve made the first step.
3 BELIEVE IN YOUR POWER
Believe that you can solve your money problem. There are people who have been in worse financial straits than you, and they’re able to get out of their dilemma. Hopelessness is the idea of losing control over the situation; believe that you still have control over your finances and you start bringing in hope back into your home.
4 FOCUS ON GOOD NEWS
Think of the other great things that you have. Your health maybe. Your family. A great kid. Steady job. Great friends. Solve the things that you can today, and be at peace with those that you can’t for the meantime and life will suddenly be more bearable.
5 LIVE IN THE NOW
Plan for tomorrow but live in the present. Worrying too much about tomorrow is as unhealthy as living in the past. We all can plan so much to safeguard our future; beyond that, you may be shortchanging the present. Play with the kids or take an afternoon walk with your partner. Sometimes, it’s also nice to stop and smell the flowers.
6 AVOID JUNG THOUGHTS OF FAILURE
A bad credit doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It only means you’re caught unprepared. Even some of the most successful people today have, at one point in their lives, failed miserably in their credit. It is what you do after the setback that defines your success.
7 TAKE A BREAK
When you find yourself worrying about the same things every minute, it’s time to jump into that gym or yoga suit. Exercise or join a mediation class to ease out the worries. Keep your mind healthy and your body fit, in fact, even more when problems strike. You’re better armed and focused to solve problems when you are healthy.
8 ASK FOR FINANCIAL HELP
There are financial coaches or specialists who can help people solve their money problems. You can also talk to a family member or close friend and ask for financial assistance if you believe this is to your best interest.
9 CUT YOUR DEBT
The ideal ratio is to limit your debt payment below 40% of your salary. Work out a plan with a financial coach or a professional friend on how to pay up your debts. Identify unnecessary expenses that you can reallocate to debt payment. The faster you can pay all your debts, the better.
10 INVEST AND SAVE
Save or invest at least 10% of your income. This holds true even if you’re paying off debts. Do away with impulsive buying. Cut the credit for the meantime and put the money instead on investments. If debts give you the blues, savings and investments are your stimulants.
Your to-do list this week:
Go over your bills and expenditures, and make sure all your numbers are accurate by ensuring that receipts and bills match up with your budget. Of course, things can fluctuate from month to month but this might be the perfect time to allot a certain amount to an emergency fund for a little more peace of mind.
Check to make sure you’re in the black each month, since going into debt is generally the greatest cause of stress. If you find yourself in the red more months than not, it’s time to rethink your money-making or spending strategy. Try taking on a second job to bring more in, or reduce your phone bill, TV package, or travel plans to restore balance to your budget.
Create a debt pay-off plan and stick to it so you have an idea of when your credit card balances, student loans, or car payments are going to be paid off – this knowledge alone can help you breathe a major sigh of relief.
Repeat as needed to feel more in control of your finances.